Jerry Sandusky claims innocence, says he just "horsed around" with boys

Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is escorted in handcuffs to a waiting police car in Bellefonte, Pa., Nov. 5, 2011.
"I am innocent"
Jerry Sandusky
AP Photo, file

(CBS/AP) STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was also the one-time heir to football coach Joe Paterno, said Monday that he is innocent of the charges alleging he sexually abused eight boys. He claims he just  "horsed around" with the children.

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In a telephone interview Monday night on NBC News' "Rock Center," Bob Costas asked Sandusky if he's a pedophile and Sandusky responded, "No."

"I am innocent of those charges," the 67-year-old Sandusky said. "... I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them, and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact."

Sandusky was arrested more than a week ago and is charged with sexually abusing eight boys, some on Penn State property, over a 15-year span.

Asked whether he was sexually attracted to underaged boys, he said "Sexually attracted, no. I enjoy young people, I love to be around them, but, no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."

Asked if there was anything he had done wrong, Sandusky said, "I shouldn't have showered with those kids."

The interview with Costas was Sandusky's first public comment on the charges. He had previously maintained his innocence through his attorney, Joe Amendola.

Earlier Monday, CBS News investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reported that at least two of Sandusky's alleged victims were believed to be preparing civil lawsuits. The suits being prepared are against Penn State University and possibly against The Second Mile, the charity for troubled kids which Sandusky founded in 1977.

Complete coverage of the Penn State child sex abuse case on Crimesider